In this study, investigators sought to determine associations between heart-related quality of life (HRQL), marital status, and comorbid disorders in men and women following cardiac surgery. The authors examined data from a randomized, controlled trial that studied 416 individuals (23% women) who were scheduled for elective coronary artery bypass graft and/or valve surgery. The HRQL of the subjects was assessed preoperatively, then at two weeks and three, six, and 12 months postoperatively, using an assessment scale that measures overall health, including mobility, vision, hearing, breathing, sleeping, eating, speech, excretion, usual activities, mental function, discomfort and symptoms, depression, distress, vitality, and sexual activity. The overall assessment scores for the total sample improved significantly from two weeks to three months post-surgery, with only a gradual change observed from 3 to 12 months; however, 30 percent of the total sample reported a lower assessment total score at 12 months compared to their preoperative status. Of those 30 percent, 78 percent of the subjects indicated a very low HRQL status compared to their preoperative scores. When adjusted for age and marital status, investigators found that women, particularly those who lived alone, experienced lower HRQL and a slower first-year recovery following cardiac surgery when compared to men. The authors concluded that healthcare practitioners should consider the impact cardiac surgery can have on the quality of life of their patients when providing follow-up and support. Women in general and women who live alone in particular may need more extensive follow-up support in order to manage their cardiovascular symptoms and improve their function within the first year after cardiac surgery.
Source: Bjørnnes AK, et al. Impact of marital status and comorbid disorders on health-related quality of life after cardiac surgery. Qual Life Res. 2017 May 8. doi: 10.1007/s11136-017-1589-2.